Lift up your voice, lift up your voice

I have a tendency to sing. I do it out loud and I do it quite a bit. Now, I have a decent voice, musical talent runs in my family and I’ve sung in various choirs and whatnot, but I don’t (entirely) sing because I think I sound great. I will admit that sometimes I do think I sound great, sometimes not so much. I do it because I like to, and because I’m not afraid to.

There’s mention in The Devine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood of the fact that “When I was a girl people used to whistle all the time. (This is almost certainly misquoted, but it was something to that effect.) and now they don’t.” I believe that the same could be said about singing. I believe that people used to sing. Look at the numbers of negro spirituals there are out there, these are songs that were sung while picking cotton, a job that has to be amazingly boring and monotonous (while being quite physically taxing at the same time) but people still pick cotton (I think) and people definitely do things that are equally boring these days. How about working on an assembly line, or quality control, or surgery… (no, I’m getting off the point) My point is that people are still doing tedious jobs but they’re not singing to entertain themselves any more. Why not?

I have a few theories, I imagine that the truth is really a combination of all of them. The first is that with the rise of recording, music has become something one could specialize in. While I’m sure talent in that area has always been recognized and appreciated it used to be that the miller had an inspiring deep baritone that was a pleasure to listen to, but he was still the miller. Now he’s the singer and he buys his flour from someone else. With the recognition of that talent comes the inferiority complexes of those who don’t have it. Most of the rest of the theories stem from mass media. Now that we have music recorded we have music with us every where we go. We don’t need to sing while we grocery shop because Muzak has taken care of that for us. And while we sit doing quality control we have our headphones on and our I-pods (I’ll save my rant on Apple for another day) blasting.

Then there’s the fact that singing is usually a group thing. Sure you can solo, I do it a lot but not because I necessarily want to, it’s because not one else will join in. And people are just not that friendly anymore. We don’t even smile at strangers, we certainly wouldn’t sing with them. And apparently we wouldn’t sing for them either. What the heck happened to Carolers?

Perhaps I’m not the one to lecture on reaching out to your fellow men, I’m blogging here, not actually talking after all but I find this sad. I find all of it really sad. C’mon, it’s Christmas, it’s the time of year when we’re supposed to be neighborly. So, I’d like to encourage all within the sound of my blog to do it. Sing. Like I said before it’s Christmas, you know the words to that song wafting overhead while you stand in line to buy gifts, and if you don’t you certainly know the tune, hum it, whistle it. Sing it a little. Maybe you’ll get some strange looks, aren’t you tough enough to take that? Do it for me, you won’t be alone. As I said I sing a lot, this time of year pretty much everywhere I go.

-Al

P.S. For those who really take this to heart check this website out.

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